Fruits native to California?

mamalinda(MonterreyBayCA)January 25, 2011

Hi everyone,

My son was recently told in his social studies class that there were no fruits in California prior to the arrival of Europeans. I find that hard to believe. I'm imagining that what the teacher meant was that the fruits that we think of today (i.e. apples, oranges, bananas, etc.) didn't exist here then. But NO fruits?

So, I'm wondering if any of you knowledgeable folk know what the native fruits of California are (were - if they're no longer).

Thanks so much!


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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Oh goodness. I don't think there isn't a place in the North American continent that doesn't have some rubus that grows there. Rubus is the genus that blackberries and raspberries are in. Check the usda link for rubus to see what species were native to the west coast. And of course there are strawberries as well. See the usda page for fragaria (strawberry) as well.

And if we are speaking botanically, fruits are produced on all manner of plants. See the wikipedia page on fruits for the definition. But I'm assuming he meant fruits we eat.

There are many foods native to the New World and so I'm sure there are other fruits. I included a link below that includes some of them. You can dig a little to see if any were native to the west coast.


Here is a link that might be useful: New World Foods

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 8:35AM
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Vaccinium genus is another, blueberries.

There is a huge difference between introduced and native. I think his teacher might need a little information, but at the same time if the text books are teaching this mess then it might not be the teachers fault. Though the teacher should be mature enough to point out the mistakes in the books.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 7:29PM
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California has a huge variety of native berry-like fruits -- the most recognizable as edible would be our two species of grape and probably half-a-dozen species of currant/gooseberry (the Ribes genus).

Getting into the more distinctively "Californian" plants with potentially edible fruits, I can think of toyon and elderberry (both of which can be poisonous if mishandled), madrone, the various manzanitas, sugarbush and lemonade berry... these are just the more common ones in southern California. I'm sure there are plenty more that are rare or are more common in other parts of the state.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 12:26AM
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